The Three W’s Necessary To Accomplish Your Goals

I had a recent conversation with a group of young people at a leadership roundtable. As we went around the table, each shared about success and failure as it related to using their time wisely each day. Some people acknowledged their tendency to procrastinate while others talked about the pressure of deadlines. Throughout the conversation, the one thing crystal clear to all of us was this: it’s often a struggle to get stuff done.

When it comes to my own productivity and growth, I find myself struggling in two key areas:

1. I am not sure what to do next.
2. I know what to do next but I’m not sure how to do it.

Each of these areas can paralyze a person into inactivity. It is the uncertainty that keeps me in a holding pattern. I think this all relates to the way we approach the goals in our lives.

If you’ve followed my journey on this blog for any length of time, you probably know I am a big fan of P90X. P90X is an extreme, personal fitness program that you can do in the privacy of your own home. It works. It gets results. The reason I found P90x so effective for me was in the way it directly addressed the two areas I listed above. First, it is a detailed plan specifically laid out for a 90 day period. I always knew what I needed to do next. Secondly, each exercise was demonstrated in a variety of ways through video. I never had to figure it out on my own.

Here’s the thing – I’ve had a gym membership before. Most of the time, I would walk in and wander and wonder through a workout. I didn’t have a plan…I only had an idea. P90X allowed me to focus on the most important thing: working out (hard).

Perhaps you have your own example of success when it came to accomplishing a goal. For me, I’ve found the following strategy (which I call “The Three W’s”) to be paramount in accomplishing the tasks and projects that I both need and want to get done.

Write it.

Get the idea, dream, or task out of your head and onto paper. Make it visible to you. Put it in a place where you can see it everyday. This gets things going. This moves a goal past the “think it” stage. So many people have a good idea or something they hope to accomplish. These are actually called “wishes.” Writing down a goal begins to cement your good intentions into an actionable plan. In fact, I would encourage you to spend more time thinking about a goal after you’ve written down. This leads me to the next part of my strategy.

Weigh it.

Every goal has a price tag attached to it. Goals also have a different priority. Take the time to consider the costs, anticipate the obstacles, and get your mind right. When I considered doing P90X, I had to prepare myself. It would cost me money, time, and a lot of energy. I had to make choices about whether or not it would all be worth it (it was!). Too many people write a goal down, yet never take the time to think through all of the consequences and ramifications that go along with accomplishing the goal.

It’s so important to think through the different roadblocks you will face in accomplishing your goal. Of course, you can’t foresee everything. But you can determine if you have the perseverance and determination to see this thing through. Taking the time to weigh your goal, even in the midst of accomplishing it, is part of the growth that occurs within you through the journey of achieving it.

Work it.

A goal takes work, effort, and perhaps, the help of others. Writing a goal down is helpful. Weighing the goal in your mind is crucial. But too many people start the process of considering goals and never do the hard work necessary to complete them. Identify the timelines and deadlines necessary to accomplish your goal. More than that, figure out what you must do on a daily basis to move a little closer each day. Journal about your progress. Make appointments on your calendar dedicated to doing the work.

For me, P90X was the process I used to accomplish the goal of getting in better shape and feeling healthier. I took a fitness test at the beginning and wrote down every stat. I had a plan. I spent a lot of time preparing my heart, mind, and body for the 90 day journey. All of the writing and weighing were helpful assets for the one thing that gave me results: working (and in this case…working out).

Whatever your goal, the three W’s can be applied to your situation. They’re just tools. The results will come in the way you use the tools.

I would love to hear how you’ve used one of the three W’s in your own journey and how it led to the accomplishment of a goal in your life. Share your story with us in the comments below.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://ashleymcurtin.blogspot.com/ Ashley Curtin

    Great post, Tim!

    I used a strategy similar to your three W approach when trying to find/decide on a job to start right after college.

    I started by taking the time to write down what I wanted in my first “real job” and where I wanted it to ultimately lead me in my future career. At that point I made interviews with the places I thought would be a good fit as my first job. I interviewed with multiple businesses and was sure to make connections in each one. After the interviewing process I had the chance to weigh out my options and pick out my top choices while weeding out the rest. I ultimately ended up taking a job I wasn’t planning on taking, yet it was the best decision I could have made for this time in my life. I could not be happier with my current job situation and the future plans it will (hopefully!) lead me to and I don’t think I would be in this position if I hadn’t taken the steps prior to taking this job. The three W’s really work!

    • tim milburn

      Thanks for sharing your experience Ashley. It’s great to hear how you accomplished your goal of working at a place you love. This is a great example and definitely validates the effectiveness of the three W’s!

      • Susan J. Martin

        Tim,

        Your article also provided a great ah ha for me to be sure and have a dialogue about this with all of my new students. I teach online and I have failed to write about the importance of planning their expectations for themselves as they progress through the class.

        It also reminded me of a quote from someone, “Most people do not plan to fail, they fail to plan.”

        • tim milburn

          Thanks Susan. Great to hear you’re teaching online. I love online learning and am both a student and teacher in that format. What subject do you teach?

  • http://www.amazon.com/The-Disciplines-Execution-Achieving-Important/dp/145162705X Sean

    Thanks for the great article Tim. I think each one of these items is crucial for being effective at achieving your goals. Have you read the 4 Disciplines of Execution? It focuses on prioritizing tasks within goals to ensure that you’re moving forward. I feel like you’d enjoy it. Here’s a coupon code so you can get it at 45% off this week: 4DISSEPT12. I put the link as my URL- check it out!! I look forward to hearing more from you about achieving goals.